In the mood for warm, comfort food recently, we made dumplings at our house, and I ended up offering you all the recipe. Janet Varnum in Bar Harbor gave them a try, and though she has found lots of other useful recipes here, she candidly wrote, “Sorry, but we did not care for them!” Janet is used to fluffier dumplings.
Janet said, “Since I grew up in Wisconsin and am of German descent, that may affect my taste.” She sent along a dumpling recipe from her mom, Ruth Witt, which is well over 70 years old. Mrs. Witt, Janet reported, “always put these on top of sauerkraut, and we were a big family of ten on a farm, so that may account for the proportions!”
So the other night, with a bit of chicken stew on hand, I gave the recipe a try. They are fluffy and tender, form lovely, puffy clouds in the pan. Since they contain a bit of shortening and an egg, they have a biscuit-like texture. They are quite unlike the dumplings that I grew up with, and I suppose the child in me still likes damp, dense dumplings, though Janet’s are a lovely variation.
Janet “halves” her recipe by using a small egg. These dumplings cook very quickly. Give them ten minutes with a tight lid on the pan.
2 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter or shortening
About ¾ cup milk
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together twice. Cut in butter or shortening until the mixture looks like fine meal. Beat the egg in a measuring cup, then add enough milk to fill to the one cup line. Add the egg and milk to the dry mixture and stir until smooth. Drop by spoonful into salt water, broth, or place on top of stew. Cover pan tightly. Steam to cook ten minutes without lifting cover.
Makes eight or more servings.